thread

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: a filament, a group of filaments twisted together, or a filamentous length formed by spinning and twisting short textile fibers into a continuous strand
b
: a piece of thread
2
a
: any of various natural filaments
the threads of a spiderweb
b
: a slender stream (as of water)
c
: a projecting helical rib (as in a fitting or on a pipe) by which parts can be screwed together : screw thread
3
: something continuous or drawn out: such as
a
: a line of reasoning or train of thought that connects the parts in a sequence (as of ideas or events)
lost the thread of the story
b
: a continuing element
a thread of melancholy marked all his writing
c
: a series of electronic messages (as on a message board or social media website) following a single topic or in response to a single message
4
: a tenuous or feeble support
hung on by a thread
5
threads plural : clothing
threadless adjective
threadlike adjective

thread

2 of 2

verb

threaded; threading; threads

transitive verb

1
a
: to pass a thread through the eye of (a needle)
b
: to arrange a thread, yarn, or lead-in piece in working position for use in (a machine)
2
a(1)
: to pass something through in the manner of a thread
thread a pipe with wire
(2)
: to pass (something, such as a tape, line, or film) into or through something
threaded a fresh roll of film into the camera
b
: to make one's way through or between
threading narrow alleys
also : to make one's way usually cautiously through a hazardous situation
3
: to put together on or as if on a thread : string
thread beads
4
: to interweave with or as if with threads : intersperse
dark hair threaded with silver
5
: to form a screw thread on or in

intransitive verb

1
: weave sense 2
the car threaded through traffic
2
: to form a thread
threader noun

Examples of thread in a Sentence

Noun A thread was hanging from the hem of her coat. the unwary bug was snared in the sticky threads of the spider's web Verb She threaded her shoelace through the holes. thread film through a camera They had to thread their way through the crowd. Waiters threaded through the crowd. a river that threads through narrow valleys See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
The common thread is that nobody really knows the unintended consequences of widespread adoption. Rick Watkin, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 There is a tiny grand piano, complete with working keys; a Singer sewing machine with small reels of thread; and a Hoover vacuum cleaner, its cord carefully wrapped around its handle. Megan Specia, New York Times, 11 Feb. 2024 During a special screening before its premiere, franchise star Chris Pratt, who plays Star-Lord/Peter Quill, told PEOPLE that the cast planned to stay in touch via a group text thread. Ingrid Vasquez, Peoplemag, 10 Feb. 2024 The threads of lagom seem to be fraying, as social services come under increasing stress and politics reach unprecedented levels of polarization. Erika Page, The Christian Science Monitor, 2 Feb. 2024 In fact, the threat of Big Tech regulation marked another common thread throughout the week, offering a striking contrast as CEOs took their lumps from regulators one day and celebrated record results and stock gains the next. Rachyl Jones, Fortune, 2 Feb. 2024 Demi Lovato, Mickey Guyton and Mira Sorvino were among the big names who donned red designer threads and hit the catwalk for the cause — bringing attention to American Heart Month, which begins on Feb. 1. Kate Hogan, Peoplemag, 1 Feb. 2024 Acknowledgments and pain that thread into this understanding need a tremendous amount of tending. Philip Wolf, Rolling Stone, 31 Jan. 2024 Tie thread around the egg to keep the fabric in place. Mary Alice Russell, Southern Living, 29 Jan. 2024
Verb
The energy trilemma of access, reliability – plus being affordable – and being environmentally responsible is the critical needle to thread during the energy transition. University Of Houston Energy Fellows, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 On a recent afternoon, video feeds coming into an observation center at police headquarters showed tourists threading through narrow alleys. Stefano Pitrelli, Washington Post, 13 Feb. 2024 Applying them takes some getting used to—you’ll need to thread your hair through the devices with hooks—but the shiny, perfectly waved results speak for themselves. Jenny Berg, Vogue, 11 Feb. 2024 As electric vehicle sales slow, Farley is attempting to thread the needle between scaling back the company’s EV spending by $12 billion while dialing up output of traditional internal combustion engine models, which generate profits needed to fund future growth. Keith Naughton, Fortune, 7 Feb. 2024 Right now, President Biden is trying to thread the needle. Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times, 1 Feb. 2024 Columns are too densely placed for an open-plan office, but threading kitchens and bedrooms between them is eminently doable. Curbed, 24 Jan. 2024 Their apology tweet, which was threaded below the announcement about Alaina, received several replies from angry audience members. Caitlin O'Kane, CBS News, 22 Jan. 2024 Lewis took on Michael Jordan, sold office supplies on path to take over program thirsting for fresh blood Facebook Show more sharing options Music threads a wild route through the personal and professional life of new San Diego State football coach Sean Lewis. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'thread.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English thred, from Old English thrǣd; akin to Old High German drāt wire, Old English thrāwan to cause to twist or turn — more at throw entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of thread was before the 12th century

Dictionary Entries Near thread

Cite this Entry

“Thread.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/thread. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

thread

1 of 2 noun
1
: a thin fine cord formed by spinning and twisting short fibers into a continuous strand
2
: something that resembles a thread
threads of a spiderweb
3
: the ridge or groove that winds around a screw
4
: a train of thought that connects the parts in a sequence (as of ideas or events)
lost the thread of the story
threadlike adjective

thread

2 of 2 verb
1
: to put a thread in working position in
thread a needle
2
: to pass through in the manner of a thread
thread film through a camera
3
: to make a way through or between
a river threading narrow valleys
also : to make (one's way) carefully
had to thread their way between the mountains
4
: to put together on a thread : string
thread beads
5
: to weave together with or as if with threads : intersperse
dark hair threaded with gray
threader noun

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